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AppleTV Problems? Try these Tips

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 7/15/2011

AppleTV is great, when it works right. Here are some AppleTV troubleshooting tips so you can hopefully avoid a trip to the Apple Store.

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    Troubleshooting the Original Apple TV

    In a recent article I discussed how to quickly and easily set up your iTunes library with your AppleTV. I also mentioned how much I have come to depend on and love my AppleTV. While the AppleTV is great, it can drive you crazy when things go wrong. For example, my AppleTV recently only played audio content from videos I was trying to play. Instead of rushing out to the Apple Store for warranty service, here are a few easy steps you can try to fix it yourself.

    1. Disconnect the AppleTV from the power source. Basically, unplug it. Leave it unplugged for a minute or two and plug it back in. This temporarily solved the audio/video issue I mentioned above.

    2. Disconnect all video/audio cables from the AppleTV and the TV and reconnect them. It is possible you have a bad connection. You could even try using new cables to determine if you have a faulty cable.

    3. Disconnect from iTunes and reload your content. You can do this in the settings menu for iTunes libraries. Once you sever the connection to your iTunes library the AppleTV will lose all of its content. You have to reconnect (by syncing the library with the AppleTV and using the code the AppleTV provides - check the article linked to above) and reload all of your content. It is almost like starting from scratch without reformatting the AppleTV.

    4. As a last resort, you can reformat the AppleTV to factory settings. This will erase the AppleTV and restore the system software that it came with. Essentially, it is making it like it was when you bought it. Any software updates you downloaded will have to be redownloaded and installed. Of course, you will have to relink to iTunes and reload your content.

    5. Another great resource for troubleshooting your AppleTV is Apple's own discussion forum. It is packed with posts made by others seeking help with their AppleTV and you might be able to find a solution to your exact problem in there. If you don't find what you need you can start your own post. You will be pleasantly surprised at how fast you will get a response from the many people that are willing to help others in the forums. You do need an Apple ID, but if you use the iTunes Store you will already have one. You can find the support site here:

    As I said this is the last resort. This was the only way I was able to fix my AppleTV issue. Once I reformatted and reloaded the content it has been working great. Of course, now that I say that I'll go home and it will have the same problem or a new one!

    If any of the above steps fail to work it is time to take a trip to the Apple Store or call Applecare for service. There isn't too much more that you can do on your own.

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    Troubleshooting Your Apple TV 2

    If you have the Apple TV 2 (the newest Apple TV) there isn't too much troubleshooting you can do. The content comes from iTunes or the Internet and nothing is loaded onto the device. Most of the troubleshooting has to do with your Internet connection or home sharing. With that said here are some steps to try.

    1. Check the Internet connection settings in the settings menu. Make sure you are connected to your network.

    2. If you are using Home Sharing, make sure that is turned on. Many users, including myself, have issues with home sharing and have to constantly reset it. Home Sharing settings can be found in the "Computers" setting of the settings menu.

    3. Disconnect the AppleTV from the TV and your power source and reconnect.

    4. Reinstall/Restore the software. Unfortunately this will load the most recent update to the AppleTV software. If that is causing the problem for you you are out of luck. I have not found a way to revert back to an older bersion of the AppleTV software in the newer AppleTV.

    5. As mentioned above, visiting the Apple Disucssions site is a great resource for troubleshooting your AppleTV (or any Apple product).

    Finally, as mentioned above, if all else fails it is time to call Applecare on the phone or take a trip to your local Apple Store and see if they can help you. Even if the device is no longer under warranty one of the people at the Genius Bar in an Apple Store will most likely be willing to help and troubleshoot the issue you are having. If you are really lucky they might even give you a replacement unit- warranty or no warranty coverage.

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    • Article based on author's experience